26 February 2011


 I've been driving my scooter every day that the roads are dry, even below freezing. I've enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I've got the tinkering bug with it now too. It's fun because the parts, even performance parts, are much cheaper than for a car. I spend $35 and got a performance CDI and coil set. You see pictured here the old CDI (Capacitive Discharge Ignition) and the orange slightly larger performance replacement.They advertise that it has a slight spark advance and can run to a higher RPM. I am mostly interested in the advance and newer parts. I can keep the old one as a backup.
 The performance coil is of course orange next to the stock coil. It's advertised to have a higher voltage output for better spark. I didn't measure so I can only take their word for it. It came with a cap but I had not yet assembled it.
 I had read several places that the stock Chinese valve stems degrade and eventually leak either slowly or suddenly. I decided mine were far enough into the risky zone that I'd replace them now. Though this one is cracked and splitting when I pull on it, it does not leak yet. It might have lasted quite a while longer. But for $3 why not have new ones?
 Removing the old stem finished the split and it fell apart. Now I kinda wish I had gotten angled stems, but the store I was at only had straight. I had picked up the shortest they had, and it's not a big problem. Just would have been slightly more convenient with an angled stem.
 Since I was taking every thing apart and had some of the cowling off I decided to check the valve clearance. The engine manual I have (not for my scooter, but good for the engine) specified 0.08 - 0.12 mm. These valves had much less than that. I didn't measure where they were, but it was less than 0.078mm. I adjusted them out to about 0.10mm. For as many miles as my scooter has I was expecting a possible oil leak. But I have found none, other than the stripped gear box oil plug. But I fixed that with a little RTV gasket goop.
 I'm rather interested in replacing the stock headlights with HID lights. For $40, it's a nice upgrade that adds safety and cool factor. The stock lights barely light up the road at night. For reference I took some pictures of the stock bulb and holder so I can figure out which HID bulb I'll need to get. The stock setup leaves the left light on low while running, both lights on low when the headlight switch is on, and both high and low activate when the "passing" switch is pressed. So normal driving is 25W, headlights on is 50W, and passing is 100W. With the HIDs, I'll get two 35W bulbs with inverters.
I'll have to re-wire a little bit, but I'll end up with one 35W light on all the time, and both for headlights on or passing at 70W. I'll also have to setup a DC bypass as the stock system runs the headlights on AC direct from the alternator. I'd like to eventually change to LED signal lights as well, but that's a low priority.

Media Cabinet

Since we got a new TV, and I'm not a fan of a monolithic entertainment center we needed a place to store our DVDs and games. I took the old entertainment center we had (picked up for free from beside a dumpster many years ago), and cut it apart into just the shelving portion. Since DVDs aren't very deep I then cut it in half lengthwise. Originally we intended to build two shelf units from it. Unfortunately the style we wanted would not allow us to reuse the existing doors. I only needed to buy materials for paint, doors, and a backing. After reinforcing the bottom, attaching the backing, and adding shelf blocks I had something!

 The shelves came from the original shelves, just cut in half to fit. All the prep work took a long time. Lots of sanding and gluing, then wood filler. I kinda wanted a smooth surface like a veneer, but in the end we were happy with a little wood grain. I ended up cannibalizing the second set of shelves to make this one set. So we'll not get a double set. Of course the one set doesn't fit all our media, so Jen wants me to see if I have enough material to build a double wide. I haven't looked into that yet, and kinda don't want to. I'd rather rip what we have to our media server and put the originals into a long-term storage out of sight. I dont know, we'll see what works out!
 Looking to reduce the amount of wood grain showing I spread putty along the front third of the shelves. It helped some, but the grain is still somewhat visible. We decided that the end result would be black, so here the shelves are primed with black. I thought I'd need a quart of primer for just trouble spots and half a gallon of paint. I was way off! I've primed everything with a third of the quart left. After painting everything but the door I might have used nearly a quart of the finish paint. I'll certainly have black paint left over. I wonder what we'll put it on.

I ended up with two or three coats of primer, then two coats of paint (three in high wear areas). It really looks pretty nice. It will be nicer with the doors on the face! I'm still working on those. Two are primed, but still need lots of putty and sanding. The third door was kinda warped, so I'm trying to flatten it out. I'll get some pictures when I'm all done.